In the United States in 1927, on the Petition for Naturalization (Form 2204-L), applicants would complete the line :

I emigrated from .... in ....

For example, here is a Petition FHL Film # 004112253 image 909 from the digital collection Pennsylvania, Eastern District petitions for naturalization, 1795-1931 / United States. District Court (Pennsylvania : Eastern District) at FamilySearch.

Was this the date of their last or first arrival to the United States, or was there no specific rule?

My guess would be that it was the date of last entry as naturalization required continuous residence in the States, but this is only a guess.

In the History of the Declaration of Intention (1795-1956) on the USCIS website, in the section about Form 2202 (Sept. 27, 1906-June 30, 1929), they only specify that what was required is the date and port of arrival. Again, no precision on whether this was the earliest or latest arrival.

  • 1
    This question needs work. First of all, the link to the copy of the petition via Dropbox makes it difficult to see the Petition and read the question at the same time. The information should be incorporated into the question itself (show just a snippet of the form, not the entire page). Secondly, the question asks "ca. 1925" but the linked petition is from 1927. Which date do you want to know about? If there were a regulation, the answer might have changed in between 1925 and 1927. The question should serve as an example for answering both cases but it shouldn't be muddled.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 16:47
  • @JanMurphy. Thanks for the advice. Is this precise enough now?
    – J.J.D.
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 21:02
  • 3
    I ask because this is an inherently messy part of the research process. Imagine we're in 1925; there are rules in place for that time period. Suppose there is a rule change in 1926. A bulletin goes out with the new rules but it may take some time for everyone to get the new rules and implement the change. For most researchers this may not matter but in some cases, knowing this context may make the difference between correctly interpreting a document or not. Since there are so many times where things are fuzzy, I like to nail down whatever precise things I can.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 5:33
  • I understand; thank you for the feedback!
    – J.J.D.
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


Your assumption has to be correct. It is written in black & white.

I have resided continuously in the United States of America for the term of five years at least, immediately preceding the date of this petition.

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The date of petition is March 31, 1927.

The two witnesses swearing to the 5-year residence requirement state that they knew he was a resident since March 1, 1922. That just means that's probably about when they met him. They can't swear on the first two years simply because they weren't yet acquainted.

If he did come and then leave again in those first two years, that wouldn't be "immigration" in this sense; it would simply be "a trip to the US".

Most likely the 1920 arrival was the beginning of the continuous residence up to the 1927 petition or else he would have entered a later immigration date that marked the beginning of the period of the intended permanent residence.

  • 2
    Albert Szent-Györgyi definitely gave his most recent arrival (Dec. 1948) on his naturalization (1955). (He visited previously in 1939 and was a resident from at least 1947; he took at least one, possibly more trips abroad in 1947.)
    – JPmiaou
    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 3:52

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